Cambodia: Journalists stopped and intimidated by authorities

Cambodian journalists have been intimidated by authorities in a series of incidents documented by the Cambodian Journalists Alliance (CamboJA). The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) and CamboJA urge Cambodian authorities to respect the rights of journalists to report.

Police stands guard in Phnom Penh. Credit: Tang Chhin Sothy / AFP

A Voice of Democracy (VOD) videographer was stopped and threatened by Prek Pnov district authorities on June 18. The authorities consisted of more than 10 members and were led by the district governor.

The male videographer was filming a temporary stopping place for civilian’s floating houses and fish farms. He was caught after being evacuated from the space. Authorities took photos of him and his press card and threatened him if he released any of the videos he had taken.

A similar incident one week prior was recorded on June 11 and involved two VOD media personnel who were reporting on the delivery of petitions by a group of women to the European Union. Another attack, on May 11, saw a reporter’s equipment confiscated and the blocking of media photographing protesters demanding resolution in a land dispute.

The IFJ said the actions of authorities go against Cambodia’s Constitution and the country’s Press Law that ensures press freedom.

A 2020 report by CamboJA found 35 cases of harassment against 72 journalists. More than 20 of these cases involved violent attacks or threats while reporting. In all cases, not a single perpetrator has been formally held accountable.

CamboJA expressed concern on that matter “that VOD reporters have been repeatedly stopped and intimidated by authorities while they are carrying out their professional duties.”

The IFJ said: “The relentless attacks on journalists in Cambodia is an extremely serious threat to press freedom. The IFJ condemns the government’s lack of initiative on the matter and urges them to investigate these matters in order to formally address the issues.”

For further information contact IFJ Asia - Pacific on [email protected]

The IFJ represents more than 600,000 journalists in 140 countries

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